EU charges 10 states with breaking rules on waste
BRUSSELS - The European Union said this week it was taking eight of its 15 member states to court for failing to comply with rules on waste and had cautioned two others whose environmental laws were not up to scratch.
The European Commission, the EU\'s executive body, said the court charges ranged from Italy failing to clean up rubbish landfill sites to EU states\' lack of effort in making national waste disposal laws comply with European legislation.
If found guilty, countries are normally fined.
\"EU legislation on waste exists for a reason. We want to prevent waste from damaging the environment and from harming human health,\" European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.
\"There is no point in member states agreeing to EU laws unless they then abide by them,\" she added.
The longest list of charges was brought against Italy, which is being referred to the European Court of Justice on three counts. Greece, Britain, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, and Germany will also be prosecuted.
Finland and France have received formal warnings which if not heeded could see them land up in court as well.
The Commission said Italy had failed to force a firm to clean up three landfill sites containing residue from burnt oil which threatened to leach into the soil and pollute water supplies. Nor had it cleaned up another site which had been used to dump hazardous waste illegally.
Italy, Greece and Belgium had failed to bring EU rules into national law, as had Britain, which was also in trouble for not prioritising the regeneration of cancer-causing waste oils over other methods of disposal.
Portugal faced the same charge on waste oils while Greece and Spain were both indicted for unauthorised landfills. The Commission referred Germany because of its substandard programmes for reducing waste and pollution from batteries.
Countries which have received formal warnings have two months to comply or face court action.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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